FRANZ XAVER VON SCHÖNWERTH (18101886) had a successful career in law and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself full-time to cataloging the customs and folktales of his homeland.
ERIKA EICHENSEER is the director of the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society. She lives in Germany.
MARIA TATAR is the chair of the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A just-discovered trove of fairy tales by a contemporary of the Brothers Grimmnow for the first time in English
With this volume, the holy trinity of tellers of fairy talesthe Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersenbecomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the depths of the Black Forest and scaled the heights of the Bavarian Alps to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lostuntil a few years ago, when a researcher unearthed thirty boxes of manuscripts in a municipal archive in Germany.
Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, they bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.